Audrey Hepburn's work for the world's children honoured
(Left-right) UNICEF Regional
Ambassador and chess champion Anatoly Karpov,
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
his wife Nane Annan with 'The Spirit of Audrey'
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Roger
7 May 2002 - A seven-foot-tall bronze statue of Audrey
Hepburn was unveiled today in a star-studded ceremony
at the James P. Grant Plaza at UNICEF headquarters in
New York to commemorate Ms. Hepburn's tireless work
as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
To most of the world, Ms. Hepburn is known and loved
for her Academy Award-winning performance in Roman Holiday
and for her memorable roles in Sabrina, Breakfast at
Tiffany's, The Nun's Story and countless other movies.
However, children in the developing world knew her as
an exceptional advocate for their cause.
"We are here to celebrate the life of our friend
Audrey Hepburn and her second and greatest career as
a UNICEF Ambassador," said Roger Moore, who opened
the ceremony. "And what a career it was."
Ms. Hepburn became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF
in 1988. In the five years in that capacity, she traveled
incessantly to Ethiopia, Guatemala, Somalia, Sudan,
Thailand and many other countries drawing attention
to the plight of children. Ms. Hepburn testified before
several US Congressional committees on hunger. She met
with presidents, kings and prime ministers to urge them
to improve the lives of children around the world.
She herself was no stranger to suffering. As a child
growing up in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, she and her
mother nearly starved to death before escaping to the
safety of the UK.
"'I was a malnourished child in the post-war years.
I was one of the beneficiaries. I've known UNICEF all
of my life,'" Mr. Moore recalled Ms. Hepburn telling
him many years ago before he himself became a UNICEF
Harry Belafonte, also a UNICEF Ambassador, said, "Not
many people in the world who obtain celebrity really
commit themselves to trying to make a difference in
the world of turmoil, and I think that Audrey Hepburn
was the best example of what to do with herself, and
I loved her dearly, and I am very glad to be here to
The statue, created by renowned artist and sculptor
John Kennedy, was commissioned by Ms. Hepburn's long-time
companion, Robert Wolders. Entitled "The Spirit
of Audrey", it depicts a tall, slender woman holding
the hand of a child - evoking countless occasions on
Ms. Hepburn's travels to some of the world's most disadvantaged
and ravaged spots. The unveiling, originally scheduled
for last year, was postponed after the September 11
"How appropriate that it will stand here in the
plaza outside the organisation that inspired her,"
Mr. Moore said.
The commemoration began with the Young People's Chorus
of New York and was attended by several hundred people
- including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his
wife, Nane Annan, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy,
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Harry Belafonte, Mia Farrow,
Vendela Thommessen, Anatoli Karpov and numerous other
Ms. Hepburn died on 20 January 1993 of colon cancer.